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Into the Wilderness Paperback – October 15, 2012

4.7 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"This fiction focuses on the most important human relations, the ones central to our conceptions of who we are and what life is about. Ebenbach does this all while playing to his strength: using the small, the ordinary, the everyday to give little glimmering glimpses of the enormous, the extraordinary, and the startlingly true."  
-Eve Ottenberg, Washington City Paper


"The souls of Judith's story and each of Ebenbach's stories about the wilderness of parenthood shine brightly in this lush, honest and beautifully written collection."
-Karen Paul-Stern, CurrentMom

"Into the Wilderness, a terrific collection of 14 stories, explores that ostensibly familiar but ever strange, exciting but terrifying territory of parenthood....Once read, these quiet and luminous tales linger. With charm, insight, and humor, Ebenbach reveals a deeper meaning to everyday events that by their very ordinariness rush by unnoticed, moments typically experienced without thought or examination."
-Linda Morefield, Washington Independent Review of Books

"Ebenbach's range is as varied and nuanced as the parental experience....Ebenbach's empathy, of showing the complexity of his characters no matter how dark...give it an authenticity that transcend gender or parental roles into what is at heart what it means to be human. It's as if the stories have always existed and we're hearing about it now; they weren't created by some guy, they happened to someone."
-Robert Duffer, Good Men Project


"Into the Wilderness is a delightful read."
-Simone Ellin, Baltimore Jewish Times


"Each story in Into the Wilderness is like a sharp-focus snapshot of a moment of parenting: sad, funny, perplexing, but always honest."
-Stephanie Bedford, Capital Times


"The arrival of a child throws the various characters in Into the Wilderness into confusion. With delicacy and generosity, David Ebenbach follows as they try to find their uncertain ways, discovering that, whatever their ages, some reach parenthood before they're ready to tackle adulthood."
-Stewart O'Nan

"For the very real people in David Ebenbach's vivid and emotional stories, becoming a parent--as Judith, the single mother in four of the stories, says--is going 'into the wilderness.' It is the oldest human story and, in Ebenbach's sure hands, the truest and most moving."
-Jesse Lee Kercheval

"David Ebenbach takes us deep into the heart of the messy confusion and terror and unfathomable love that make up that shaky state we call parenthood. These stories are fearless, honest and true. They are also a joy to read."
-Joan Leegant
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 222 pages
  • Publisher: Washington Writers' Publishing House (October 15, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 093184665X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0931846656
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,719,595 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I honestly was not sure how much I would connect with this collection as someone who is not a parent, but I picked it up because of the great recommendations. Wow. I can honestly say that this is book for parents and children alike - so that means everyone. The stories are familiar in a way that is not cliche but rather warm and powerful. Reading these stories, whether they had a direct correlation to my upbringing or not, I still felt that essential sense of the amazing bond between parents and children. I can't wait to give this to both of my parents!!
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It's really nice to have a short story writer who is male and brings humor and deep emotion to the table. He is not a "tricky" writer, but he's smart, and the stories sort of well up and crescendo. They start off feeling quiet, but then they build and haunt me. His insights about family are intense and universal. I don't have kids, but it's irrelevant. The writing is potent and moving and sweet and funny and modern.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In this impressive collection, David Ebenbach deftly renders contemporary family life. His characters are consistently complex and appealing; his situations are grounded in everyday concerns about being a good parent and navigating a tough economy and are heightened by the acute angles he takes and the incidents that drive the stories. There’s an almost compulsive honesty in the book’s approach to its subjects that often carries into the behavior of its protagonists. In “Person of Interest,” a young mother both warns her Middle Eastern neighbor that the police are after him and tells the police where he is. In the Carveresque “Hungry to Eat,” an unemployed father earns one of the best happy endings I’ve read in a while. The divorced father’s relationship with his children in “Jewish Day” had me punch drunk from the force of so many moments of recognition. “Counterfactual,” which is built from mutually exclusive branching narratives that nevertheless sprout naturally from each other, is a great example of an unusual form perfectly supporting its content. Ebenbach’s women are as convincing as his men (to this man, at least), and he writes sensitively (and bravely) about the physicality of motherhood. The sequence of pieces about Judith, a bewildered single mother, ends with an emotionally powerful moment that struck me as deeply as anything I’ve read in a while and perfectly concludes her character arc and the collection as a whole. There is a fair amount of humor in these pages as well, all of it arising smoothly from character and situation. This is the work of a wise and humane sensibility.
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Format: Paperback
There's a surprising lack of short fiction out there directly addressing the blindingly disorienting experience of new parenthood. This book takes that on, unblinkingly and compassionately. It's also very funny. At the heart of the book are a set of connected stories following one single mother adjusting to her new reality as the parent of an infant, but there are many other great characters and relationships here, lending us memorable glimpses into the pain and bewildering joy of the parent-child relationship. Ebenbach's writing style is deft and mature, quietly inviting us into these families' lives.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Into the Wilderness unearths some of the tangled roots of societies and souls. A diverse, contemporary cast of characters are described in the midst of very personal struggles. The unassuming narration still communicates an urgency of purpose--the stories leave the reader pondering the sometimes melancholic beauty of ordinary human relationships. I think it's time for Ebenbach to write a novel.
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Format: Paperback
The characters in David Ebenbach's collection of short stories range from those contemplating bringing a child into their lives to those with teenagers. It gives voice to the complex feelings that parents have and are sometimes afraid to discuss with others. The journey of parenthood is rocky and wonderful and Ebenbach writes with empathy and precision about this journey. It is a must read for parents and non parents alike; you will see yourself in the children and in the adults in these stories and you will laugh and cry!
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Format: Paperback
Author David Ebenbach writes a very interesting collection of short stories. If you like to read small bits of different yet interesting events then you will enjoy this book. Included within the book is a story about a family who goes to a baseball game on Jewish Day. It is interesting how the father and his son and daughter communication both with each other and the people around them. Also there is a story about a father and how he tries to relate to his son using a dinner out. It describes how difficult it is to share what is on one's heart and yet the joy that comes when love is shared with your son.
The longest story is written in four parts about a lady named Judith and her daughter. She finds herself pregnant without knowing who the father is. Her parents come and help her during the pregnancy and after the delivery trying desperately to know the name of the newborn baby. They are Jewish and Judith wants to have an official Jewish ceremony where there is an official giving of the baby's name. She goes a full month before this service without knowing what name she will come up with and while in the middle of the ceremony she is enlighten with the name and shares that with the congregation at one time. This is a very heartwarming story filled with questions, frustration, joy and destiny.
I enjoyed some stories more than others of course, and everyone will have their favorite. I would encourage you to take it out on a test run and see how you like the stories.
This book was provided by JKS Communications for my honest review.
4 of 5 stars.
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